Sea erosion

Published : 9:00 am  August 1, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 


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fast taking over coastal belt

Residents concerned about serious danger to their lives

more than 100 houses have been destroyed since 2014 during periods of rough seas

By H.M.Dharmapala and Kusal Chamath   
Sea erosion in the coastal belt in Mount Lavinia, Dehiwala and Ratmalana areas has worsened this year and several houses have been destroyed by the trembling waves.   

People living along the southern coastal belt of Mount Lavinia, Dehiwala, Ratmalana and Moratuwa area have been facing the threat of sea erosion for the last several years, and more than 100 houses have been destroyed since 2014 during periods of rough seas. Several business establishments catering to the tourists were among the affected buildings.   

Residents of the area said when about 70 houses were destroyed by sea erosion in 2014 they staged a massive protest obstructing even the movement of trains on the coastal line and the authorities promised to provide land in safer locations for them to settle but action had not yet been taken. They were of the opinion that sea erosion worsened after commencement of construction of the port city project, but the officials would not admit it or carry out a study to look into this situation.   

 A fisherman in Wedikanda in Ratmalana, Peter Magammana (50) said, several houses had been raised down to the ground for the last three years and that they were living in constant fear of any possible danger to their lives.   

“We have been facing this danger every year after May, but we are compelled to stay here for want of land elsewhere to settle . The distance between the beach and the railway line is less than 10 metres now. In the past the edge of the beach was more than 100 metres away from the land, but the waves now hit the railway line. The boulders laid by the Coast Conservation Department which was the only way to protect the beach, have now been buried in the sand. We want land in safer locations to live and not dry rations. Sea erosion could have been prevented by erecting a breakwater at a considerable distance from the beach,” he said.   

Meanwhile, Ratmalana Divisional Secretary D.A.H. Piyatilleka said,  sea erosion in the coastal belt from Dehiwala to Ratmalana had been experienced every year, but it had worsened this year. He said the affected families were only provided temporary shelter.   

“The people living in the endangered area want land in towns and they are not prepared to settle in the areas we propose. It was not possible to find land in areas to match their demand. Several others have sold land issued to them and put up shanties along the beach again. However, the Coast Conservation Department has taken steps to lay boulders to protect the beach,” he said.     


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